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THE UNDISPUTED CENTRE-PIECE(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 02,1997)


Vol.2 1997


THE UNDISPUTED CENTRE-PIECE
Ruby Jewellery

LASTING APPEAL
Rings & Earrings

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Pendants

AQUATIC WONDERS...
Pearl Jewellery

Favoured Setting
Inlaid Jewellery

THE UNDISPUTED CENTRE-PIECE

Ruby Jewellery

Larry Jewelry Ltd produces this European-style ruby and diamond bracelet and necklace set in 18K white and yellow gold.  A floral-pattern ruby and diamond brooch is in 18K white and yellow gold and a platinum ring (top) has two rubies totalling 2.81 carats

BLOOD-RED rubies have long captivated gem lovers - their vital colour making them stand out among precious stones. Hong Kong's jewellery manufacturers have paid homage to this fiery stone with creations that bear witness to its rare beauty.

Ruby jewellery generates significant sales at Hsudia Jewelry Ltd. Of the 300 European-style handmade pieces of jewellery the 32-year-old company produces monthly, ruby items account for 30-40%. Half are exported to Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and the US. The rest are sold at the firm's two Hong Kong retail outlets.

"We do large pieces with 2-5-carat centre stones. A ruby set-necklace, earrings and ring - with fancy-shape diamonds might take 2-3 months to produce," managing director Lau Tai-kwan says. Pieces, including ruby jewellery, cost from HK$20,000 to HK$1.5m FOB Hong Kong. Each carries the Hsudia brand name.

Mountings are in platinum 950 or 18K white gold, with yellow gold prongs used to help bring out the ruby's colour, Lau explains. "Some of our pieces are for everyday wear, but most are for dressy occasions, such as weddings or balls," he adds.

Delivery takes 1-3 months after order confirmation. No minimum order is required.

Also known for its European-style, handmade jewellery is Larry Jewelry Ltd, established in 1967. The company's 20 workers turn out 300 pieces per month, all of which carry the firm's Larry brand name. Ruby jewellery, with pieces priced from HK$10,000 to HK$1m FOB Hong Kong, accounts for 30% of sales.

"Rings are our most popular seller. We like to use a 2-3-carat ruby as the centre stone, with diamonds on the side," company spokesman Simon Fan says. Other than ruby and diamond combinations, the company might mix rubies and pearls, or rubies, pearls and diamonds. "Occasionally we would use rubies with sapphires and emeralds to make a colourful mix," Fan says. He says oval cuts are the most popular for rubies because they retain the most colour, fire and weight.

The firm exports 10% of production, primarily to Southeast Asia and Europe. The remaining 90% is sold in its three retail shops in Hong Kong and three in Singapore.

No minimum order is required and delivery can be as fast as 4-5 days if the stones are in stock; three weeks if matched stones are needed, says Fan.

Ruby ring and earring sets are popular at Legrand Jewellery (Mfg) Co Ltd , where ruby jewellery accounts for a quarter of total sales, says director Sammy To. The company, whose 60 workers and six designers produce a total of 1,000 pieces per month of all types of jewellery, prices the full range of its goods from US$500 to US$20,000 FOB Hong Kong. About half of its pieces are handmade and half are cast.

"We have both European- and Oriental-style designs," says To, adding that the company's major export markets are Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan. "We like to use lots of small stones rather than one large centre stone."

Rubies typically range in size from 50 points to one carat and are often combined with smaller 25-50-point diamonds. Oval and cabochon cuts are frequently used. Most settings are 18K white gold or platinum 900.

The company, established in 1974, has no minimum order requirement. Delivery takes one month after order confirmation.

At Elegance Jewellery Design & Mfr Co, the emphasis is on ruby rings with 2-3-carat commercial-quality centre stones. "We combine the rubies mostly with diamonds, but sometimes we use precious stones or a stone like pink tourmaline," says spokesperson Ada Lai. Most in demand are 18K gold mountings, but platinum 900 and 18K white gold are also used.

Although diamond jewellery is the firm's most important product, ruby jewellery accounts for about a third of its sales. The company manufactures 2,000 pieces of jewellery per month, mostly cast. "Most are in traditional European styles, but we also do a few antique-style designs," says Lai. Prices for ruby jewellery range from HK$4,000 to HK$80,000 FOB Hong Kong. Most exports go to Japan, with some to the US and Europe.

There is no minimum order requirement and delivery is three weeks after order confirmation.

Because Japan is Noble Jewelry Ltd's main export market, its designs reflect Japanese tastes. "Our style is Japanese mixed with Italian," manager Tony Tam says. Of the 2,000 pieces the company makes monthly, ruby jewellery accounts for about 10% and is priced from US$6,000 to US$120,000 FOB Hong Kong.

"We have customers who like earring and necklace sets with rubies. We always use rubies and diamonds together. Some necklaces may have 30 carats of diamonds and 10 carats of rubies," says Tam. Ruby sizes can range from 2-10 carats. Mountings are in 18K yellow or white gold, or platinum 750.

Besides Japan, Noble sells to the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia. It recently began exporting to Spain and Italy, and hopes to further develop its European sales.

The company has no minimum order requirement and delivery takes three weeks after order confirmation. Handmade jewellery, however, can take two months. About 75% of output is cast, the rest handmade.

Written by Andrea Pawlyna


LASTING APPEAL

Rings & Earrings
Youthful star-shaped ring-and-earring set from Andys Jewelfy Mfy Ltd is mounted in 18K white gold with 2.4 carats of diamonds

RINGS and earrings are essential for any woman's jewellery wardrobe. Whether on their own or in matched sets, these workhorses of the jewellery industry have an enduring appeal. Showing their versatility, Hong Kong manufacturers offer styles that cover a complete range of designs - from antique to contemporary.

Antique-style rings and earrings are a speciality at Jewellery Flair Ltd. The company manufactures 300-400 pieces of jewellery per month, most of which are handmade, says controller Salina Chow. Rings, priced from US$500 to US$10,000 FOB Hong Kong, and earrings, from US$650 to US$7,000, account for 70% of production.

"We find that in Asia, a lot of our customers like the antique look," Chow says, adding that the company's major markets are Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and mainland China. Next year, the company hopes to crack the US market with jewellery in the US$200-2,000 FOB Hong Kong price range.

One of Jewellery Flair's best-selling rings features a setting of 10 precious stones (10-20 points each), accented with diamonds and mounted in 18K white gold. It is priced at US$1,200. "We mostly use 18K white gold, but there is some demand for combination yellow-and-white gold, and plain yellow gold. But for Japan, we use platinum 900," Chow says. Earrings are mostly set against the ear, as opposed to dangling styles.

All pieces are designed in-house and carry the JF brand name. Minimum order is 10 pieces per design and delivery takes 4-6 weeks.

Commercial goods house Laurel Jewelry Co Ltd keeps an eye on fashion trends when creating its jewellery designs. "We use a lot of tanzanite in rings, usually 4-10 carat sizes, because the intense colour is the fashion in the US," says Joe Chan, general manager at the two-year-old firm. "But we haven't been using much tanzanite in earrings because it is hard to get an exact colour match."

Rings and earrings are each priced from US$50 to US$1,000 FOB Hong Kong. The US accounts for 70% of the company's exports, the Middle East 20% and Europe 10%.

Laurel Jewelry favours channel settings and uses 14K and 18K white or yellow gold for mountings. "We have been making platinum 900 pieces since June for the US market, but these are only 2-3% of our sales," Chan says. Traditional designs using diamonds (up to 10 points) and precious stones (65 points to 1.10 carats) are generally the rule. Emerald cuts for sapphires and emeralds are frequently used.

No minimum order is required and delivery time after order confirmation is 4-6 weeks.

At Chase Jewellery Mfy, the US absorbs 70% of the 2,000 pieces the company manufactures monthly. The rest is sold to Taiwan and Germany. The company specialises in ring-and-earring sets. Of its total production, rings account for 65% and earrings, 15%. "Our designs are dressy and we use a lot of small stones, at least 30 pieces in a ring," says William Li, a company director. Men's rings are done on request.

Established in 1986, the firm mounts its jewellery in 14K or 18K gold, with diamonds and precious or semiprecious stones. "We use 4-8-point diamond baguettes or tapers for our diamond pieces, and for jewellery with coloured stones, the centre stones are over 50 points," Li says.

Prices for individual pieces range from US$100 to US$2,000 FOB Hong Kong, with ring-and-earring sets at US$800-1,000. "The US is very big on sets, especially in antique styles," says Li.

Channel settings are the company's main type of setting for diamond jewellery, with some small diamonds bezel-set, while prong settings are used for coloured stones. Minimum order is 10 pieces per design and the company delivers in three weeks.

Diamonds, precious stones and pearls are the main gems used for rings and earrings by Aaron Shum Jewelry Ltd. Its price range of US$50-2,000 FOB Hong Kong is aimed at attracting women from 30 to 45 years old. Diamond sizes range from 1-50 points. The size goes up to one carat for coloured stones, 3-8 millimetres for Japanese cultured pearls and at least 12 millimetres for South Sea pearls. Platinum 900 accounts for 50% of mountings and the rest is 18K white or yellow gold.

Half of the 12-year-old company's exports go to Europe; the remainder is divided among the US, the Middle East and Japan. The company produces simple designs for casual wear for buyers in Southeast Asia, but sells antique-looking, elegant jewellery in Europe, according to sales administration manager May Heung. "We sell the stone in Asia and the design in Europe," Heung says.

Aaron Shum turns out about 5,000 pieces a month, most of which are cast. Minimum order is 10 pieces per design, with delivery 3-4 weeks after order confirmation.

Simplicity is the key to ring and earring designs from 20-year-old Andy's Jewelry Mfy Ltd. "We mainly use diamonds, including some fancy yellow diamonds, Japanese cultured pearls and South Sea pearls. We don't do much with coloured stones," says Pamela Man, a company director. Diamond sizes tend to run from 1-50 points; Japanese cultured pearls, 8-9 millimetres; and South Sea pearls, 10-12 millimetres.

Rings are priced from US$150 to US$2,500 FOB Hong Kong; earrings from US$180 to US$3,000. About 90% of the 2,000-3,000 pieces of jewellery produced monthly is cast and 10% handmade. Rings account for 60% of sales (less than 5% are for men) and earrings, 15%. "Our designs are mostly sporty, not so dressy. Some pieces can be worn anytime," Man says. Star and bow shapes are favourites.

Mountings are 18K white or yellow gold, or platinum 900. "Our platinum sales have gone up 50% in the past two years," Man says. The company exports to Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines and Australia.

Smaller amounts are sold in the US and Europe. No minimum order is required and goods are shipped in 4-6 weeks.

Future plans at the company call for developing jewellery for women over 40. "We are moving in that direction. For this type of jewellery we would use larger stones because these women can afford it," Man says.

Written by Andrea Pawlyna


FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Pendants
Platinum 900 and jadeite combine with diamonds in many of the pendants available from Creative Holdings Ltd.

SUSPENDED from the neck, pendants are often the first item of jewellery that attract the eye. Framed by the chain and the wearer's neck, these items give manufacturers free rein to incorporate large gemstones and experiment with bold designs, intricate shapes and striking colours.

Jadeite, with its rich green hues, is the best-selling gemstone in pendants manufactured by Creative Holdings Ltd, according to director Winnie Chow. Platinum is the preferred metal, its cool shiny appearance contrasting with the sharp colours of the jadeite. Diamonds complement the designs in VS-SI clarity and G-H colour.

Since the firm was established in 1995, and mainly due to the focus on platinum, Japan has emerged as the major market. The economic recession in Japan has slowed exports, but Chow has managed to retain clients by expanding.

"We have expanded into other lines such as ruby, sapphire or emerald jewellery. The prices are slightly less than for jadeite pieces and this type of jewellery is more in demand at the moment. We have also expanded our business in to Singapore, Europe and the US, which has helped," Chow says.

Creative Holdings' factory in Hong Kong produces 500 pieces per month. Hong Kong's skilled workmanship enables Chow to offer quality finishing, setting and polishing, which the company guarantees. "Service is also very important, especially after-sales service," says Chow.

There is no minimum order and delivery takes 45 days but can be done earlier depending on the job.

Offering both specialisation in design and quality is the aim of Betty & Sunny Co Ltd, according to director Betty Choy. "Some customers want high-quality products and some want high-quality designs. We offer both. We can supply special designs to suit individual buyers' markets and we are a small operation so we can really concentrate on our quality control," Choy says.

Established in 1988, Betty & Sunny manufactures 18K jewellery priced at US$250-10,000 FOB Hong Kong. The new pendants inspired by floral arrangements have proved popular and can be transformed into a brooch by customers. They are set with coral, agate, lapis lazuli and onyx, and accented with rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds. Prices range from US$450 to US$1,000.

Germany is the major market, with Japan increasing as an export destination, as a result of increased demand for pearls, which are suited to the Japanese market, according to Choy.

There is no minimum order and delivery time depends on the design.

Eternity Mfg Ltd's specialisation is high-tech precision products, according to director Ken Lo. "We have our own designs and concept and we do products that no-one else does. We stay away from regular items and thus avoid competition," he says.

Lo founded the company in 1986. It manufactures all types of 9K-22K gold jewellery, set with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, and priced at US$50-20,000.

Some new pendants available from Eternity embody Lo's high-tech goal. Each uses a synthetic sapphire that looks like glass. The piece is see-through and has a motif inside that swings with a unique motion mechanism. Motifs include animals, aeroplanes and suns, and the designs include diamonds and coloured gemstones. Average price for the pendants is US$170 FOB Hong Kong.

All production is done in the firm's Guangzhou, mainland China, factory. Minimum order and delivery time depend on quantity. Markets are mainly the US and Europe. Asian customers are more affluent and not as price-conscious as Americans or Europeans, according to Lo. "They would rather buy a higher-value item with a more luxurious look," he says.

Proving the shift in production techniques among Hong Kong manufacturers, KTL Jewellery Mfr Ltd strives to adopt all forms of new technology.

"We use fully computerised model-making technology, which is itself a pioneer in the industry. A special department organises this instead of having it all done by hand," says marketing director Alan Kei. "We want to try all the new technology available and attend all the seminars and exhibitions on this subject in the jewellery industry. We focus our production on using these methods."

Established in 1987, KTL's best-selling products are rings, earrings and pendants featuring seven-millimetre Akoya pearls with small prong-set diamonds. Best-selling price is US$150, says Kei.

Markets are evenly distributed worldwide and production facilities are in Guangdong, on the mainland.

"We provide new models and good service to our customers. We study each market ourselves and can help our customers by providing new ideas specific for their clientele," says Kei.

Minimum order is US$3,000 and delivery is within 45 days.

With years of experience as a cutter of opal and turquoise, Designlink Jewellery (Mfg) Ltd has been making its own finished jewellery items since 1990. "We specialise in taking the product from rough to finished piece in our own factory," says sales manager Simon Auyeung.

Set in 14K or 18K gold, the jewellery is priced at US$40-400 FOB Hong Kong. The latest designs feature pendants with opals and boulder opal doublets set with diamonds. Prices range from US$100 to US$280.

Designed by Li Chung-man, the ideas come from watching market demand for designs and prices, especially at trade shows such as Basel in Switzerland and JCK in the US.

"Japanese customers like curved and smooth lines, while Americans like bigger geometric designs," says Auyeung. Exports to Japan have decreased in the past year and the manufacturer is making more US-style pieces in 14K gold.

Designlink has two factories, one in Hong Kong and one in Guangzhou, on the mainland, producing 3,000 pieces per month. Minimum order is six pieces in each design and delivery is within one month.

Written by Johnny Edison


AQUATIC WONDERS

Pearl Jewellery
An elegant 18K gold jewellery suite incorporating Tahiti black pearls and South Sea pearls along with popular insert brooches come from ISE Jewellery Co Ltd.

CULTURED pearls are firmly back in style and Hong Kong designers are working overtime to create items of lasting beauty with these marvels of the ocean. Whether it is Akoya pearls from the birthplace of the cultured pearl industry, Japan, larger and more lustrous South Sea pearls from the warmer waters of Australia, or the sensuous tones of Tahiti pearls, suppliers offer something to tempt.

Joseph Wai, sales manager for Maxim Jewellery Co, sees a significant shift in market demand. "Before, the market demand was for coloured stone jewellery. Over the past five years this has changed to pieces featuring pearls and diamonds. That is not the only reason. Bangkok manufacturers are now specialists in coloured gemstone jewellery, so it is a bad idea to compete with them," he says.

Maxim Jewellery, established more than 30 years ago as a loose coloured gemstone, jade and jewellery wholesaler, now concentrates on manufacturing ladies' ring, earring, pendant and necklace sets featuring pearls and diamonds and priced from US$500 to US$10,000 FOB Hong Kong.

Best-selling items are jewellery featuring 11-16-millimetre South Sea pearls with VS clarity, and G-H-colour diamonds, at US$1,000-3,000, according to Wai.

"We concentrate on high-end jewellery and try to modify our designs every six months so our customers can always see something different," he says.

Maxim's main markets are the US, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. The company also has European customers as a result of exhibiting at the annual trade show in Basel, Switzerland.

Minimum order is US$1,000 and delivery is within one month.

Jewellery designer Kai-Yin Lo established her production, export and retail company in 1973, and her work now ranks as one of the most visible and distinctive in the industry. Kai-Yin Lo Ltd exports 60% of its production and sells through its stores in Hong Kong and Thailand.

Manufacturing in either silver vermeil or 18K gold, managing director Lo is able to extend herself creatively. "With the gold jewellery, the most important design consideration is the gemstone I'm using. I like clean, sleek lines. It is a sign of the times. Our customers are aged 30-40 years old and they want something substantial now. This is especially important for the Japanese market," Lo says.

Prices range from US$40 to US$5,000, with the best-selling items being the larger South Sea pearl pieces in 18K gold, priced at US$500-3,000. Mabe pearls, an assembled pearl enabling a larger look, are also popular. When diamonds are used as accent stones, they are generally VS clarity and G-H colour, and Lo likes to use sapphire, ruby, mother-of-pearl and jade to enhance the design.

Japan is the main market, followed by Thailand and the US. "We concentrate on developing our Asian markets more. Our business has been growing because we do different things. We always have new pockets of customer demand, such as TV sales in Japan," she says.

Minimum order is US$3,000 and delivery is within 12 weeks.

Japan is also the major market for ISE Jewellery Co Ltd, according to sales manager Ko Kin-man. Other markets for the seven-year-old manufacturer, exporter and retailer are the US, Taiwan and the Philippines. "We are always meeting customers from all over the world," says Ko.

Most popular is 18K gold jewellery priced from US$250 to US$130,000. Ko notes demand for natural designs, especially insect, animal and bird brooches. Designs featuring pearls set with rubies, sapphires and emeralds are especially popular with customers in Japan and are priced at US$5,000-10,000.

White gold also accentuates pearl designs. A new elegant and simple design for a white 18K gold necklace incorporating white South Sea and black Tahiti pearls has been a good seller. Priced at about US$15,000, the piece features 10-18-millimetre oval-shaped pearls in alternating colours set with diamonds.

ISE produces 400 pieces per month at its factory in Hong Kong. Minimum order is 10 pieces, except for large items such as the white gold necklace, for which there is no minimum order. Delivery is within one month.

Established in 1983, Wing Cheong Jewellery & Jade (Mfy) Co Ltd sells its 18K gold jewellery mostly in Hong Kong and exports to Switzerland, Singapore and the US. Business to the US has increased by 15% so far this year, according to manager Gladys Do.

Akoya pearl earrings, pendants and rings in simple designs set with diamonds and priced below US$130 are most in demand, says Do. Wing Cheong's designs with Akoya pearls are priced at US$25-350 and South Sea pearls from US$200 to US$4,000.

White gold is also popular, especially in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Floral designs, with design inspiration coming from grapes, the passion of spring and the Victorian era, are successful sellers in Bangkok, which is becoming a booming South Sea pearl market.

Minimum order is 100 pieces and delivery is within four weeks.

Millat Han Ltd, established in 1990, is a relative newcomer to the industry, but director and main designer Kitty Sin has brought a wave of fresh ideas and alluring jewellery to the market.

"We make a lot of matching sets in top-range, exclusively designed collections priced up to US$130,000. Brooches are popular at the moment, priced at US$10,000-20,000," Sin says. Diamonds of D-F colour and IF-VS clarity are used as side stones to enrich the design.

The design is the most important aspect of the jewellery, according to Sin. "It is the first thing people see," she notes. Then the workmanship, which can be quickly determined by any experienced customer. Efficient service is also important, and Millet Han strives to provide all three, according to Sin.

Minimum order depends on the item and material, and delivery takes three weeks to three months.

Written by Johnny Edison


Favoured Setting

Inlaid Jewellery
Dancing dolphins feature in jewellery using gemstones, including quartz, lapis lazuli and turquoise, set in 18K gold from Pointers Gemdcraft Mfy.

MANY setting techniques are used to blend gemstones with precious metal to form jewellery. The most seamless and flowing is inlaying, where the gemstone is set flush with the metal, allowing more versatility and scope for creative expression. This technique is well favoured by Hong Kong designers.

DewCarat Ltd has been manufacturing 14K and 18K gold, and platinum jewellery set with diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, jade, pearls and semiprecious gemstones for seven years. General manager Bronia Yip is proud that all the firm's customers are satisfied and place repeat orders.

"If we say we'll do something, we will do it. We are honest with our customers. If they are not satisfied, they can return the product," she says.

Best-selling items are 14K and 18K gold rings priced at US$200-300. The rings are set with diamonds of 0.15-0.30-carat, I clarity and J-K colour. Commercial-quality rubies and sapphires are also used, in oval-shaped calibrated sizes 4x6 millimetres and 5x7 millimetres, and also square cuts.

DewCarat's special designs include inlaid green tourmaline and fancy-colour diamond earrings and pendants. The designs in 18K yellow gold are especially popular in the US and Japan, but the piece has to be unique, according to Yip.

Green tourmaline is the most popular because it is relatively free from inclusions. DewCarat uses some natural fancy-colour diamonds and some that have been treated to enhance their colour, which makes items more affordable.

For 30 years, Pointers Gemcraft Mfy has been cutting a wide range of loose coloured stones such as malachite, chrysoprase, turquoise and lapis lazuli. The company also manufactures silver, 18K and 14K gold jewellery set with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, priced at US$1,000-3,000.

According to president WK Ngai, the company specialises in carvings and statues. "We carve mostly animals like frogs, lizards and horses, from all different kinds of gem materials," Ngai says.

The price range for the carvings is US$5,000-10,000, with the best selling items being in the two-inch-high, lower-end of the price range.

Pointers Gemcraft also manufactures colourful inlaid jewellery items using gemstones such as white opal from Australia and sugilite. One best-selling item is an opal-inlaid bracelet in 18K gold priced at US$1,000.

The firm has a factory in Shantou, mainland China, with a monthly production of up to 100,000 pieces. The US is the most important market, with Japan and Europe also significant for sales. Ngai thinks the US will continue to provide the best demand for the next 12 months.

Minimum order is about US$1,000, with delivery within six weeks.

Jewellery Collection Co, established in 1990, offers antique-style jewellery in yellow and white 18K gold with diamonds, priced at US$300-3,000. According to designer Cheng Mei-chi, demand is for lower-priced products, such as 18K gold rings, at US$300-600. Diamonds used are VVS-VS clarity, H-colour and sized from 0.01 to 0.20 carats.

Cheng says she gets ideas from magazines, trade fairs and information from customers. "My ideas come from the market. They are all original and fall within the company style for antique jewellery," she says.

Asian countries, such as Taiwan and Thailand, are rapidly becoming the most important markets, with sales in Hong Kong also healthy. "We can deliver on time and with an emphasis on quality," says Cheng.

Minimum order is five pieces and delivery is within 21 days.

Senseware Cooperation was established in 1996 by award-winning designer and company director Clara Luk with fellow partner and director Celenia Wong. The company manufactures a wide range of men's and ladies' silver jewellery set with gemstones and can also, on request, reproduce the same designs in gold.

Most of Senseware's production of 100 pieces per month is sold in Hong Kong, but the company now concentrates on export markets, such as Japan and the US.

Demand depends on the season, according to Luk, who distributes the firm's jewellery in Hong Kong under the brand name Lüke Collection.

In the summer, lighter-coloured gemstones, such as mother-of-pearl and rock crystal quartz, sell best. In the winter, the darker tones of lapis lazuli and hematite are popular, according to Luk.

"We try to follow fashion and use stones that come in fashionable colours. Current demand is for green and gold colours, so we use aventurine quartz, jade, sunstone and citrine," she says. These gemstones are used in rings priced from US$15 to US$20, which are the best sellers.

Minimum order is 50 pieces, but Senseware will accept sample orders to the value of US$500. Delivery is within 10 weeks but can be quicker depending on the order.

South China Artcrafts & Gems Co Ltd cuts all gemstones to fit each of its designs. "Our advantage is our designs, which are distinctive and different," says director Lily Fong.

According to Fong, the appeal of an item of jewellery is in the design. "If customers like our designs, it makes sense for them to come to us," she says.

Established in 1973, the manufacturer specialises in 14K and 18K gold inlaid jewellery set with onyx, lapis lazuli, jadeite, and malachite, accented with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Average price range is US$200-300 FOB Hong Kong.

All production takes place in South China's factory in Shenzhen, on the mainland, and 70% of exports go to the US and Europe.

"Our business is stable and we see no new markets emerging for us. The type of jewellery we make is specialised. It is not common in Asian countries, but demand will grow," says Fong.

Minimum order is six pieces and delivery is within 60 days.

Written by Johnny Edison

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